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Disintegrating Democracy at WorkLabor Unions and the Future of Good Jobs in the Service Economy$
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Virginia Doellgast

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450471

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450471.001.0001

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(p.210) 6 Conclusions
Disintegrating Democracy at Work

Virginia Doellgast

Cornell University Press

This book has explored cross-national variation in employment systems and changing patterns of inequality within countries through case studies of call center workplaces in Germany and the United States. It has shown that poor job quality is not universal in call centers. At a time when U.S. telecommunications firms were rationalizing and de-skilling their frontline service and sales jobs, their German counterparts were investing in skills and expanding worker discretion. These high-involvement employment models were not adopted by employers who sought to gain competitive advantage in high-end, high-quality market segments. Instead, firms adopted organizational restructuring measures such as outsourcing to move call center jobs outside of existing collective bargaining units. This chapter summarizes the book's findings and discusses their implications for comparative theory and research, policymakers, and labor unions.

Keywords:   employment, Germany, United States, job quality, call centers, telecommunications firms, organizational restructuring, outsourcing, labor unions, collective bargaining

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